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Advanced Arcana
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/16/2012 10:06:55

Advanced Arcana begins with an in-character introduction before talking about the new sort of spell included, namely the segmented spell, which is very powerful spell that requires multiple spell slots and castings to activate. There are also a variety of spells that allow the caster to recall expended spells which is an interesting design choice allowing for some interesting options, and quick spells whose effects vary based on how much time is used to cast them, also an intriguing design choice. Many of the new spells, almost a third, are 7th level or higher which -to my mind- rather restricts their utility and two of the 1st level spells have their duration based concentration which drastically restricts their usefulness. While, like most spell lists, they are mainly combat focused there are a few non-combat spells in the mix as well. Advanced Arcana really shines for me in its supplementary material: Eight new clerical domains, while Force was unneeded, the domains of Creation and Vermin are full of possibilities. Four new Sorcerer bloodlines, one for each of the classic D&D genii types (Dao, Djinn, Efreet and Marid in case you have forgotten). Eight new Focused Wizards schools allow for further specialization, though the choice of Idiocy (for wizards who can inflict Intelligence loss at higher levels) as a school name is a bit odd. Lastly, there are eight new familiars including animated objects, newts, skeletons and bonsai! All quite fun and could lead to some very interesting interactions. There are a lot of useful tools here for GM and player alike, but it seems unlikely that you will want to use all of the options available here.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Arcana
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Grimtooth's Traps Fore
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/07/2012 13:41:20

Grimtooth’s Traps Fore is another sourcebook of traps absurd and marvelous and a delightful look back at a different era of adventure gaming, when dungeon crawling was partly a competition of cleverness between players and GMs. Confront the dangers of dungeon designs past.

Grimtooth’s Traps provides traps amazing, dangerous and unusual, mostly designed for a classic dungeon-type setting. The book was originally published in 1986, for those who are among the grognards of the hobby, it can be a very nostalgic read.

The traps are organized by type: room, corridor, door, items and artefacts, and lastly, things. Each is given a deadliness rating (marked in skulls) showing how lethal it is as presented and most have a lovely illustration by Steven S Crompton or Michael Von Glahn.

Many of the traps are classic bait and switch setups to penalize the characters using trickery (and sometimes powerful magic and illusions) to hide the nature of the actual trap. It was written in an era when dungeons were often contests between players and GM, leading to an ‘arms race’ of traps and counter-trap techniques and magic. A very different era of gaming but one that lead to great inventiveness in such things as crazy trap design and defenses against them. Of course, many of the traps in this book involve extremely powerful magic (or advanced technology or both) and would be hard to explain in a low magic campaign world, but even then, they are usually quite fun to read.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Grimtooth's Traps Fore
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #49: Dollface
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:47:04

Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Dollface, is quite fascinating and multipurpose, Dollface is an uploaded personality that now exists in multiple artificial forms playing out various games, plots and stories for her own amusement. Making her usable as enemy, plot device or even ally. At PL 12 she can be quite challenging but she has a classic villain’s sense of honor as well. Overall, a very interesting character with a wide range of possibilities.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #49: Dollface
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #41: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 2
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:46:27

Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Looking Glass Gang: Part One and Part Two, led by the insane White Rabbit -who can make other share his insanity- the Looking Glass Gang seeks to topple Them from power and have a tea party in the ruins. The most dangerous part of the gang is that the White Rabbit can always recruit new members (and part two has a discussion of what other Threat Report characters could fit in the group and where) and convert them to his world view. The Looking Glass Gang is a group that can be used for both comedy and darkly serious scenarios depending on the needs of the campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #41: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 2
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #40: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 1
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:46:12

Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Looking Glass Gang: Part One and Part Two, led by the insane White Rabbit -who can make other share his insanity- the Looking Glass Gang seeks to topple Them from power and have a tea party in the ruins. The most dangerous part of the gang is that the White Rabbit can always recruit new members (and part two has a discussion of what other Threat Report characters could fit in the group and where) and convert them to his world view. The Looking Glass Gang is a group that can be used for both comedy and darkly serious scenarios depending on the needs of the campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #40: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 1
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #48: The Starbreed, Part Two
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:45:32

Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Starbreed: Part One and Part Two, these two products are very closely linked forming a complete adventure arc between them, the Starbreed are from an alternate Earth -now destroyed- and they have come to our world to warn us . . . but is that their only agenda? Part One has three characters while Part Two has only two but one of them has four aspects, so still quite a bit there. A six-scene adventure arc (three scenes in each product) to introduce them is also included. They are quite challenging (PL 12 each) in a fight, so not opponents for inexperienced heroes.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #48: The Starbreed, Part Two
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:45:21

Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Starbreed: Part One and Part Two, these two products are very closely linked forming a complete adventure arc between them, the Starbreed are from an alternate Earth -now destroyed- and they have come to our world to warn us . . . but is that their only agenda? Part One has three characters while Part Two has only two but one of them has four aspects, so still quite a bit there. A six-scene adventure arc (three scenes in each product) to introduce them is also included. They are quite challenging (PL 12 each) in a fight, so not opponents for inexperienced heroes.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One
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Class Acts: Gunslingers
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/29/2012 13:44:02

Class Acts: Gunslingers, 18 New Grit Feats, this is very much a product for Gunslingers (or characters with the amateur gunslinger feat) as introduced in Ultimate Combat as only one of the new feats can be taken by non-gunslingers. However, the feat selection is excellent -if heavily influenced by Western movies- including: Into the Sunset (which lets you maintain Diplomacy/Intimidation effects for longer than usual), Ride Tall (adding Gunslinger level to mount related effects) and Think Twice (gains bonuses after delivering a verbal warning to a foe). If you like your gunslingers like the heroes of American Westerns, this is the product for you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Gunslingers
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Class Acts: Alchemists
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/29/2012 13:43:07

Class Acts: Alchemists, 18 New Discoveries provides 15 new discoveries and 3 grand discoveries. There are some interesting choices for the alchemist, with some informational discoveries such as autopsy (which could have been expanded, it is useful but it could have been really useful with some additional detail) and deep analysis, modifications to mutagens and potions, overall a good set of options. In the grand discoveries, radiation bomb worries me as being both powerful and a little out of genre, a GM should consider very carefully before allowing it in their campaign. Overall, this product provides a good selection of new options for the alchemist.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Alchemists
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Class Acts: Druids
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/29/2012 13:41:42

Class Acts: Druids, 12 New Drudic Domains building off the rules presented for Druids in Ultimate Magic. Seven of the drudic domains are animal based and the other five are based on terrains and each gives an interesting portfolio of abilities, I find fox and ursine especially appealing, but note some of the abilities and spells key off of information in the Advance Players Guide or Ultimate Magic. If you want to build a more focused druid, this product will give you some excellent tools to do so.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Druids
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Class Acts: Barbarians
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/29/2012 13:40:38

Class Acts: Barbarians, 32 New Rage Powers is just that, more choices for your raging. Many ways to expand your options and customize your barbarian, some of them are particularly evocative such as Rebel Yell (which allows your allies a chance to overcome their fear) and Toss Aside (which allows the barbarian to do just that to people in his way). There are also two Totem chains of three powers each for Panther and Wave which are quite intriguing thematically. People who like barbarians should find some good and fun options for making their rage more useful.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Barbarians
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Class Acts: Clerics
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/29/2012 13:38:28

Class Acts: Clerics, 18 New Subdomains ranging from the broad (chance, fellowship, spell) to the narrow (beggar, magma, zephyr) each gaining a replacement for one of the domains granted powers and a slightly adjusted list of domain spells. The granted powers are interesting and mostly well tied to the theme. Good for expanding the options available to clerics and faith in a campaign, but note some of the abilities and spells key off of information in the Advance Players Guide or Ultimate Magic.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Clerics
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Class Acts: Fighters
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/29/2012 13:37:38

Class Acts: Fighters, 22 New Combat Feats, only 5 of which are directly tied to the Fighter class and its abilities so there is much here for combat focused characters. There is a fair range of new choices here including some that are tied to specific weapon styles (club, great axe, javelin, spear, whip) which are quite narrow in usefulness and some also require access to the feats presented in Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic to be useful. The few feats that key off of the Bravery class feature are nice making that minor ability a bit more interesting. Overall, a solid product but not a required buy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Fighters
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #45: Jade Spider
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/14/2012 19:37:27

Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Jade Spider (#45) is a merciless but very skilled martial artist and assassin, a dangerous killer who seeks only his own advancement and comfort. At PL 11, he is a dangerous and adaptable foe who can be used as an adversary in a wide variety of sales.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copies of these product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #45: Jade Spider
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #44: Ku Tu the Eternal
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/14/2012 19:18:57

Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Ku Tu the Eternal (#44) an alien mummy, once god-king of the Olmecs resurrected by accident, he now seeks to rebuild his empire. Controlling awesome cosmic energy powers (PL 14), he rebuilds his army of transformed jaguar men and floating, laser-eyed stone heads. Perfect for an end of the year scenario and as a reoccurring threat.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copies of these product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #44: Ku Tu the Eternal
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